Final Day: Albert Out of the NL Central

Breaking News: According to multiple sources, the Los Angeles Angels have signed 1B Albert Pujols to a 10-year contract worth anywhere from 250-260 million with a full no-trade cause. This comes as a big surprise as the Angels weren’t considered a real threat. But like we all know, teams just jump in with a big offer and sign the big free-agent. We have seen it before and we will keep seeing it. That’s a big contract for a 31-32 year-old. The Cubs and Marlins did a good job in driving up his price. The best part is he’s out of the NL Central and even better, the whole NL. In other news, the Angels could be close to signing  the best free-agent pitcher and that’s CJ Wilson. (Update… the Angels sign Wilson to a 5 year deal.)

The last day of the Winter Meetings is manly about the Rule V draft and the Cubs will pick 4th in the draft. The player the team picks has to stay on the 25-man roster all year or on the DL (which we see a lot).

With the 4th pick, the Cubs chose pitcher Lendy Castillo of the Philadelphia Phillies. Castillo started off in the minors as a center-fielder, but about a year ago he converted to a pitcher. So.. it’s hard to have a good read on what he would bring to the team. Castillo is 22 years old and only pitched in A last year. He had good stats, but again it was only A. I would be surprise if he makes the club out of Spring Training. I see him going back to the Phillies organization.

Also, the Cubs lost players in the Rule V draft (as of now)… U Ryan Flaherty was taken by the Baltimore Orioles and IF Marwin Gonzalez was taken by the Boston Red Sox. Flaherty was once a highly touted prospect, but never came around an the O’s sound like a good fit for him as they can take a chance on him. Gonzalez is not going to be a starter, but many think he could be a good back-up and be that on the Red Sox. But remember, both players have stick on those teams the whole year; if not, they will return to the Cubs organization.

However, the Red Sox traded Marwin Gonzalez to the Aastros for thie pick Marco Duarte. That’s better for Gonzalez and a more unlikely chance, Gonzalez returns to the Cubs organization.

During the Rule V draft, there’s a AAA phase… in he AAA Phase, the Cubs selected 3B Ricky Alvarez. He was property of the New York Mets. The 22-year old has not had any good seasons and that’s playing lower levels in the minors. So.. don’t look for anything out of him. If anything, it was for depth..

The Cubs have interest in 3 Cuban’s now… we have heard of their interest in Yoenis Cespedes and Soler, but the new name to the list is 19-year old Geraldo Concepcion. He’s a lefty with pretty good stuff and he won Cuban rookie of the year last year. He filed for his paperwork to play in the MLB. Phil Rogers says the Cubs have interest in Concepcion, along with the 2 other Cuban’s.

More big news today… Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish is expected to be posted later today. Teams have 4 days to bid for him and after the 4 days, the team who won the rights have 30 days to negotiate a contract with him. If they can’t come up with a contract, he will return to Japan. Worse of it all, the team does not get the money back for bidding on him.

Phils Rogers says the Cubs have interest in signing Soler, Concepcion and Darvish. I guess we will see what happens as more news could break in the next few days.

The Rangers and Cubs have talked Matt Garza about top prospects. But the talks have not progressed much as they say the asking price was too much. So.. they practically moved on. They reportedly did not want to give up pitcher Scott Feldman.

According to Bleacher Nation, the Angels have called the Cubs regarding Matt Garza in await of the Pujols signing. The Angels system isn’t the best and don’t know if they’ll pay what the Cubs want. I just can’t see teams paying the Cubs price and he’ll be with the Cubs on opening day. But look what we just saw with the Angles and Pujols, we just never know.

Speculation: If the Cubs are indeed not interested in signing Prince Fielder like they say (I don’t believe it one bit), look for the Cubs to explore a trade for Kendrys Morales of the Angels. Whom lost his job to the big signing of Albert Pujols. If the Angels don’t trade Morales because they can’t, he could be non-tendered. If that’s the case, I think the Cubs will be one team interested in signing Morales. But we don’t know what will happen with this situation and even if it would progress.

So.. the Winter Meetings went and gone with the Cubs making no moves.

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